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Catching up

It has been a while since I have really paid attention to the site. There are some reasons for this, but I guess they are not excusable. Tonight, having finished up a little work tidbits, I will be focusing on the Bastish net. Even if only for an hour.

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I have lots of photos to post. Tomoe and I went to BarBQ the other day with the the usual international crowd. This time there was a new Columbian there. Of course he goes to University in France, so he speaks French, just as most of the other people there. He is new in Japan... like I vaguely remember I once was... so he had lots of questions. It's weird, but depending on the mood I am in, those types of questions can really annoy me, or really be a lot of fun to answer. Luckily for him, I was in a generous mood and enjoyed answering... I think a lot of it also has to do with the way the question is asked and the attitude of the “newbie” to Japan asking it. He seemed genuinely interested in, and there was no mistaking the enthusiasm for learning about Japan. Plus he had a lot of interesting input, so it wasn't just me repeating the same old anecdotes of what life is like for foreigners in Japan... he actually made me rethink my ideas too.

Anyway, I have posted the photos of that night... being sure to remove any solo images of people who have complained in the past. (to you: if you are in a group photo.. shouganai) But I think the major complaint was that the photo was a close-up anyway.

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Many people must read my site, because many people have asked me about the accident. Well, I am fine... my bike is almost fine. I visited a couple bike shops, asking how much to fix the bike, and no one could give me a straight answer... they all beat around the bush saying it would depend on the bike manufacturer and some other crap. The one thing they all agreed on is that it would cost over 6,000 yen. That didn't sound right, so I went to a junk yard for abandoned bikes and found my own rim (just any old rim... I have no idea who the manufacturer was). So far it has cost me zero... the bike shop down the street charges 50yen to put air in the tire though. After I get air I should be OK to ride it again if there is no mental trauma.

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My sister's birthday was Sept 25. Happy birthday to her.

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Tomoe's birthday is tomorrow (Oct 1) Happy birthday to her. If I wasn't two years older she would probably feel old at 26.

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My birthday is tomorrow (Oct 1) Happy Birthday to me. If Tomoe wasn't two years younger I would probably feel young at 28.

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I was washing dishes the other day and Awii decided to play on the clean dishes, so I tried to shoo her of by spraying her wit water. She loved it, so now she will probably play there every time I do the dishes. Luckily I don't do dishes so often. Some great pictures of her below.

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Like always, you can click on the photo for a larger one, but since I love the first two so much, you can download super-huge versions of them:
1rst picture
2nd picture

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Other pictures of the birds.

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Took a walk by my river on the way to the junk yard for bike parts, and stumbled across a bunch of guys in diapers carrying their doll house through the street.

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Coming soon: the latest nudie drawings.

Shopping King

I have been trying to keep a more positive attitude again. I always wake up in the morning with one, but somewhere between 9am and 7pm it tends to dissipate.

Luckily today at 8:00 I found something to give me a positive boost. As I was walking past my favorite fish store, they were trying to unload the last of the days goods, and I snagged

all for only 1000 yen!!!! Likewise at the vegie shop.

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I updates my other site, kevincameron.net. Let me know what you think.

Indian Curry

The other day as I was waiting for the train, there was an old man who was obviously disoriented. He had no idea which train went where he wanted to go, and after searching the sign for a long time, he jumped on the first train that came... who knows if it was even going in the right direction.

Later the same day, there was a woman carrying a large suitcase up the station stairs. No one helped. Neither did I.

In both cases, I wanted to help so much... I was literally aching to help, but I didn't. When I think about my reasons now it seems so stupid. Why didn't I help? Because in my experience (as a foreigner), talking to a Japanese person I don't know generates more fear than anything. In the case of the old man, I debated if I should risk giving him a heart attack by approaching him to help, or hope someone else helped, and just make sure he didn't fall into the tracks... Unfortunately I chose to do nothing. I did check the police box bulletin board when I arrived at my stop to see if he was one of the older people who wander from their home and their family reports them as missing, but he wasn't listed.

In the case of the woman, she was there with her small son and my head was filed with the look of terror I imagined she would have if I actually spoke to her. What if the scary foreigner tries to steal the kid? or tries to rape her? That is, after all, what Americans do best.

I kick myself now for not helping. I guess they probably wanted help as much as I wanted to help... but it is too late for them now. From now on, screw my image of Japanese people's image of foreigners. I will help and if the old guy jumps in front of the train trying to escape, I will have to deal with it.

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I finally got around to editing my web-site. Now I can make it known to more people than the five readers of this site. By the way, thanks to Jon for being the only one who even noticed that the browser misspelling bug (where Internet Explorer displays some words misspelled) was happening.

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I finally got a Japanese credit card after years of being told no because I am a foreigner... Actually, I only tried once, but when they said they don't give one to foreigners, I never tried again. When I was opening a new bank account today however (so I can get a super speedy internet connection) the bank lady was quite anxious to give me a card. When I pointed out that I was a foreigner, she said "No problem. Just last week an "Indian Curry" got a card" No kidding... for those of you who read Japanese, what she actually said was 「先週インドカE爾諒が笹占ました」. Is it ok to call someone form India "an Indian Curry" ? It sounds like calling a French a "croissant" or a Korean "kimchee", or an American a "hamburger".

Flat

The second largest economy in the world and they can't afford a city planner.

Twice this week I am amazed and annoyed at how Tokyo is organized. Of course it is an old city and I don't expect them to move all the buildings and make new roads in nice square blocks. But how about a sign or two?

The other day I was riding my bike down a major road that came to a three way fork. No sign telling me which fork was the continuation of this major road so I take the obvious choice, the big one. You probably know the outcome.

Last night I was riding my bike along in the bike lane on the side of the road. Just as I come to the darkest place, hidden by tree shadows from the street lamps, SHAZAM! right in the middle of the bike path —and I mean smack in the middle with half a meter on each side— is a black concrete pole. It sure wasn't a lamp post, and I didn't see any sign on it (not sup rising given the apparent fear of helpful —as opposed to advertising— signs here). The only thing I know is that it was black, in the middle of a shadow, and in the middle of the bike path. I am pretty sure that if they put a pole in the middle of the road they would at least have a man about 40 meters up the road waving a light stick... but no such curtesy for bike riders.

Anyway, my bike is dead now. My arm hurts. I am actually lucky to be alive considering that when I crashed into the pole, I was swerving in the direction of the road, and landed right in the middle of oncoming traffic (remember the nearest street lamp is covered with foliage). The second I hit the ground I was rolling out of the road, but even so, if a car had been coming I would be flat.

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A naked dog

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

It has been brought to my attention that I have been a bad bad BAD web-logger person. I have not updated this site for over a week. I have betrayed the trust of my readers. I have been rude by not telling why I did not write.

Well, I have been busy... after getting back from the US I had allsorts of little projects I wanted to take care of, not to mention a pile of books I brought back with me that I wanted to read as son as possible, and of course there were certain responsibilities to others here that I had put on hold to go to the US.

I am settling down now I think, and two of the books are out of the way, but don't be surprised if I am not updating every day.

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This is what has been happening... I made my new “business” site. Check it out. It's actually still in a “not-quite-yet-ready” state, but I think I should have everything cleaned up by the end of the week. I am afraid that if I wait until it is perfect before making it live it will never be live and I will end up paying that $5.00 / month hosting charge for nothing.

You can now mail me also at kevin@kevincameron.net.

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I just took Guri to the vet as she was puking this morning and looked pretty weak. It's a good thing I found out yesterday that today is a holiday so I had time to take her. It's not good that it cost me $55. At first I feel a little ripped-off, especially since I already knew the problem before I went (every time they say the same thing... bacteria in her stomach, take this medicine). If you think about it though, they did do some tests, and did make the medicine, and it took just over a half hour to do everything, including a little paperwork, and so I guess $75 / hr is reasonable. I just have to figure out a way to get Guri to pay me back.

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I've been trying to get my apartment in order, but it just becomes more and more clear that I have no room. Now that I have to keep Guri in a separate cage from Awii for a while and I couldn't find anyplace to put the cage that is nearby a electrical outlet (for the heater since it has been getting pretty cold lately).

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I finally got around to getting Linux installed on the used computer I bought five months ago, so now I can work on programs and web-sites and what not right in my home without have to wait for my ultra slow 56k connection to upload files to the live server. With my new computer, I can have a little test server set up here. Only one problem...

My very most favorite text editor -Ultra Edit- is not available for Linux, so I have to do the work on my Windows and upload to my Linux with the apache and mysql servers. So just make a little network in my apartment right? I thought so but after one trip so far away to the big city to buy all the gadgets I need, I find that I bought two of the wrong thingamajig, and that the used computer I bought doesn't have anyplace for an Ethernet... who would have thought they actually made computers like that? I guess it shows my youngness to the computing world.

So not I have more junk in my apartment, and it is doing me no good, and I have to go all the way back to the city to buy more parts, and hopefully return the wrong parts, and even once I do that, I somehow doubt that I will be doing any networking sometime soon

Oh yeah... I bought a ethernet card for my notebook, and when I try to install the driver, it says it is already installed... but when I try to use the card it says that there is no driver. Any hints?

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I said I brought a couple books home for the US. One that I had wanted for a long time, but couldn't order from Amazon in Japan because it was too cheap (not expensive enough for them to give me free shipping) was The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. I learned a lot mainly that I resemble him more than I would have ever thought. I am genius. Actually only some thing resemble him. It makes me wonder thought what would have become of me (or many of us living in 2002) if we had lived back when a complete education didn't even include anything abut electricity. Just think of how little there was to know back then. It makes me wonder how much people will have to cover in their basic education 200 years from now. The amount of knowledge needed will be enormous!

I'm almost done with The Sales Bible, a great book about pretty common sense sales basics, but just because they are common sense, that doesn't mean that sometimes I don't need them explicitly told to me. And although it is common sense, it is amazing how many sales people, (or business people in general) don't follow it.

I recommended this book to the one salesman in my company, and he seemed to be quite offended that I was reading a sales book, when sales is his job. He must think I am trying to steal his job. Oh well... maybe a little competition will get his butt moving.

Of course the GRE book I wrote about last post was on the list... I still haven't gotten a reply from the help desk about the crappy software that was included.

I have been using Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Watercolor. I love it. I also went out the other day and bought some real waterpaints. Being from a school that tries to shelter their students from anything that might interest them enough to not go to the pastor school, I never even knew that waterpaints aren't really those hard little pieces of color that you use with a wet brush... There are actually liquid types that are so much better to use. Of course Tomoe is amazed that I didn't know that. In Japan art is required curriculum.

Finally, a (so far) awesome book called Naked with autobiographical short stories about some regular old (or young maybe) writer in New York named David Sedaris. I try to make a rule to buy one (cheap) book on a whim when I go to the book store, and this time it was this one. So far I'm still in his childhood, but there was a great story about how he was plagued with tics when he was a kid.

  According to her calculations, I had left my chair twenty-eight times that day. “Your up and down like a flea. I turn my back for two minutes and there you are with your tongue pressed against the light switch. Maybe they do that where you come from, but here in my classroom we don't leave our seats and lick things whenever we please. That is Miss Chestnut’s light switch and she likes to keep it dry. Would you like me to come over to your house and put my tongue on your light switches? Well, would you?”   I tried to picture her in action, but my shoe was calling. Take me off, it whispered. Tap my heel against your forehead three times. Do it now, quick, no one will notice.
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Nudie lady art group is back from summer vacation. I went there Friday, but havn't had a chance to photograph the drawings yet. Not that they are really anything worth photographing this time.

Cheapathon

Still suffering from jet lag it seems. I have been getting up at 5 A.M. the past few days, and taking looong naps in the middle of the day. Today I had to go back to work of course so no nap, and i am dead now. Unfortunately, my to-do list has grown so huge since I took he week and a half off to go to the US, that I don't have time to sleep for the next month or so.

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One of the things on my list is to prepare for the GRE. I took a computerized practice test that came in a preparation test I bought in the states. When the program tried to grade my test, there was an error saying that my score was too high and it went off the grading scale. I tried to log on to their web-site to complain about the poor technology, but the registration function was broken on the site. The whole reason I bought the book was to use the 4 practice tests... the information in the book is so basic it is just plain stupid. The big tip they give for taking multiple choice questions is “If you don't know the correct answer, try to eliminate the incorrect answers”. What a waste of $30. It looks like they use a lot of them big words an' stuff that I don't know, so that is kind of scary, but it makes me feel better to think that other people taking the test may not even know that ingenious trick about eliminating wrong answers.

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One of the dedicated readers of this site is in Egypt teaching for a year. Check out her adventures on her own blog site .

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When I was in Bay City I met up with an old high-school friend, and found that he is living on a $50 a week allowance from his wife. (he does have a job) I decided to try to see if I could do that ... imagine all the money I will have if I can cut spending that much. Unfortunately it is impossible in Tokyo. I have been back for 3 days, and have been ultra-cheapskate, but I have yet to stay under my daily budget. The worst part is that since I have been trying not to spend, I have been cutting out things that I will need (such as rice) and even if I don't buy it now, I will have to buy it before the week is over, and that alone almost takes me over the limit. Add the hash on top of that and I thin I will quit this foolishness tomorrow.

Back Again

I have been back for a day now, but there is too much to write so I am at a loss and have been unable to write anything. I will try to collect my thoughts into some order and sit down for three hours some time to put everything down.

In the mean-time, the birds are healthy, No one cleaned my apartment for me. I have been waking up at 5:00 the last two mornings. I have the wedding photos I took downloaded to my computer and ready to put some of them on the site, but I still have not scanned the photos I got from my dad.

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I have to seriously start studying for the GRE now since my application for University of Michigan Librarian School has to be in by Feb 1 if I want to try for the big bucks in grant money.

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I bought a couple great books while I was in Michigan. Among them was The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin which I will write more about later I hope. Another was Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Watercolors. This is great and I have already started learning some cool techniques. A couple more weeks of practice with that and I should be able to paint like a master.

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When I was in the US I did some evangelizing for my site, and so couple new people have joined us I think. Welcome. I will try to make some time today to sort out my thoughts from the last week and get some good content up here...

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